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Marketing 22 min read May 23, 2023

Who are Prompt Engineers, and Why Hire a Prompt Engineering Master?

Who are Prompt Engineers, and Why Hire a Prompt Engineering Master?
Kateryna Hordiienko
Kateryna Hordiienko
Research Editor at Serpstat

In the rapidly evolving world of artificial intelligence, a new category of professionals has surfaced — prompt engineers. These masterminds of AI manipulation hold the keys to unlocking the full potential of generative AI models. But who exactly are these prompt engineers, and why should you consider hiring one? Let's find it out.

What Is Prompt Engineering?

Prompt engineering is a fundamental concept in the field of artificial intelligence that focuses on designing and refining the input given to generative AI models. It is both a practice and an art that embeds the task description or desired outcome within the input, typically in a question-answering system or a directive.

Providing high-quality inputs is crucial in obtaining accurate and helpful responses. Vague prompts may result in inaccurate or unfavorable responses that adversely affect the user. Prompt masters deeply understand how to design and refine prompts, leveraging their expertise to achieve specific and desired outcomes. They aim to guide AI systems toward producing outputs by deliberately and systematically manipulating the prompts and underlying data structures. 

Engineers typically work with various AI systems to develop and enhance multiple applications. These systems include:

Prompt engineering cuts across different applications, including the development of chatbots that engage in natural language conversations with users, content generation (text or code), based on given prompts, language translation tools that facilitate seamless communication across different languages, and virtual assistants that provide personalized assistance and perform tasks based on user prompts.

10 Prompt Engineering Skills

Prompt engineering is a multidisciplinary field that requires various skills beyond technical abilities. While technical expertise is crucial, non-tech skills play a significant role in developing AI technology. Here's a closer look at five essential non-tech skills in prompt engineering:

1.Critical Thinking. While generative AI excels at synthesizing vast information, it may encounter limitations or produce incorrect responses due to inadequate data or flawed training. Prompt specialists play a vital role in identifying and addressing these weaknesses.
2.Expertise in a Subject. Many prompt engineers are responsible for tuning chatbots for specific use cases, such as healthcare research or legal practice. Industry-specific expertise is highly sought after in prompt engineering job postings. It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the desired outcome for your prompt. By knowing the result you want to achieve, you can create engaging prompts and yield successful results.
3.Creativity. The essence of prompt engineering lies in experimentation and creativity. Unleashing a creative hacker spirit enables prompt masters to explore new approaches and push the boundaries of AI capabilities.
4.Communication. Prompt specialists must excel in giving clear instructions, much like project managers or teachers. Prompt engineers can guide chatbots to write in specific voices or styles by showcasing different examples, making it applicable to professionals or even elementary school students.
5.Language Skills. Feeding AI with intent requires using verbs, vocabulary, and tenses to express overarching goals.

In addition to the non-tech skills, prompt engineering also need a set of hard skills essential for the effective development and implementation of AI technology.

Tyler BrydenTyler Bryden
Co-Founder at Speak AI

Technical skills are valuable but optional. One of the reasons why large language models have been adopted so quickly is because they open up an entirely new audience to interacting with computers where programming languages are not required.

However, I believe developers have an intuitive understanding of those interactions with computers and can more quickly create and iterate on high-quality prompts. Additionally, through scripts, prompts can be tested at high velocity to drive even deeper understanding and refined prompts to achieve the output required.

We are already seeing the rise of tools and methods to automate the generation of better prompts. And, like at Speak Ai, teams intelligently use our understanding of customers to automatically compile prompts and make the process of getting good responses as easy as possible. Both trends will continue, and some well-respected, knowledgeable people in the area already believe that prompt engineering will be a short-lived career.

 Here are five hard skills that prompt specialists should possess:

6.Programming and Scripting. Understanding data structures, algorithms, manipulating and processing data programmatically, and proficiency in programming languages for top-tier candidates is crucial. They must write scripts and develop code to implement and fine-tune AI models.
7.Natural Language Processing. NLP enables the understanding and interpretation of human language by AI models. AI prompt specialists need to leverage NLP tools and libraries to preprocess, tokenize, and analyze text data.
Tyler BrydenTyler Bryden
Co-Founder at Speak AI

I am the co-founder and CEO of a transcription and natural language processing software company, Speak Ai, which works with 50,000 researchers, marketers, and businesses worldwide. 

Generally, we work with these teams to take their research data (often a combination of audio, video, and text data gathered from internal interviews, surveys, and public data) and build a repository they can mine for insights. These teams then return those insights to internal teams or clients. 

Previously, researchers used manual coding and a combination of named entity recognition, sentiment analysis, and data visualization to do this work. Still, with the democratization of large language models, these teams are now interacting with their research data through prompting. This has been such an interesting behavioral shift that presents new challenges and opportunities. We are excited to work at the intersection of it and are learning rapidly alongside our users and customers.

Personally, I am using natural language processing and large language models to build out content and support for Speak Ai, and create content on my website. I also love to share insights and resources on my YouTube channel about these advancements and how they affect the world as both business owners and people.

Prompt masters use NLP to create models to understand and generate human-like text. They can use NLP to classify documents and analyze the sentiment in blocks of text or train a machine-learning model that represents words as vectors ( embedding).

8.Machine Learning. An understanding of machine learning concepts and algorithms is fundamental. Prompt engineers should know supervised and unsupervised learning methods and have experience with fine-tuning AI models..
9.Data Analysis and Visualization. Prompt engineering experts must analyze large datasets to gain insights into model behavior, identify patterns, and assess model performance. Proficiency in data visualization tools such as Tableau allows engineers to present data-driven findings effectively.
10.Knowledge of AI Frameworks and Libraries. These tools provide a wide range of pre-built models and functions that can be leveraged to develop, train, and deploy AI models efficiently. Being adept at utilizing these frameworks and libraries streamlines the prompt engineering process.

To pursue a career in prompt engineering, it is highly recommended to have a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a closely related field. This educational background provides a solid foundation in the skills and knowledge required for the role.

Prompt designers can skillfully navigate the intricate landscape of developing AI models by combining diverse skills and expertise. Their adeptness empowers them to craft impactful prompts, enhance model performance, and spearhead breakthroughs in generative AI technology.

The Role of Prompt Engineers in Innovation and Technology Advancements

The impact of prompt engineering lies in its ability to bridge the gap between the intent of the user and the capabilities of AI models. By carefully designing prompts, they can ensure that AI systems better comprehend and fulfill the user's requirements, leading to more effective and tailored outputs.As we progress, in the forthcoming sections, we will shed light on the significant components of this occupation.

What Do Prompt Engineers Do?

Prompt engineering involves a range of techniques and strategies, including incorporating relevant context, providing explicit instructions, and leveraging external knowledge sources. These techniques can improve the model's understanding of the desired task.

Prompt specialists work closely with software developers. They are responsible for identifying and fixing flaws in AI systems and developing strategies to maximize their potential. Prompt crafting plays a pivotal role in delivering exceptional responses from language models. The effectiveness of a language model hinges upon meticulously crafted prompts that mitigate off-topic, inconsistent, or offensive outputs.

Furthermore, prompt engineering also encompasses the process of iterative refining and optimizing prompts based on feedback and evaluation. Researchers experiment with different variations of prompts, analyze the model's responses, and make adjustments to enhance performance or address specific limitations or biases.

Prompt Engineering Process

The primary task of prompt engineers is to understand the different classifications of prompts, enabling them to structure requests with specific target responses in mind. By employing well-crafted prompts, specialists optimize the performance and accuracy of AI models in generating relevant and desirable outputs.

There are several major categories of prompts to work with:

1.Context-providing prompts. These prompts offer additional context to help the AI model better understand the user's needs. For instance:

Source: Philippe De Ridder

Context-providing prompts
2.Information-seeking prompts. These prompts aim to gather specific information by asking questions.
Information-seeking prompts
3.Instruction-based prompts. These prompts provide instructions to the AI model to perform a particular task. Examples include commands given to virtual assistants like Siri or Google Assistant.
Instruction-based prompts
4.Comparative prompts. These prompts involve comparing or evaluating different options to assist users in making informed decisions. An example would be:

Source: Prompt is brainstormed using GPTChat

Comparative prompts
5.Opinion-seeking prompts. Designed to elicit the AI model's opinion on a given topic, these prompts can be framed as questions like:

Source: https://datafit.ai/prompt/11752

Opinion-seeking prompts
6.Role-based prompts. These prompts respond by framing the user's request within a specific role, such as a teacher, developer, or chef.

Source: https://datafit.ai/prompt/8701

Role-based prompts

It is important to note that while AI models can provide valuable insights, it is advisable to cross-check their responses with other sources when uncertain, as models may not always be entirely correct.

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How to Start Your Career as a Prompt Engineer?

LinkedIn data shared with TIME reveals a remarkable surge in references to "generative AI" on the platform. These mentions have experienced an astounding 36-fold increase compared to the previous year. Job postings incorporating "GPT" rose by 51% between 2021 and 2022. These statistics highlight the growing prominence and demand for generative AI technologies in various industries. 

According to TIME, in some job postings, both Anthropic and OpenAI, leading AI research companies, shed light on the lucrative earning prospects for prompt engineers. Anthropic advertised positions for prompt masters and librarians, offering a base salary range of $250,000 to $335,000.

Likewise, OpenAI is actively recruiting many engineers to enhance the dependability and efficiency of their machine learning platform, ChatGPT. The salaries for research and engineering positions in applied AI can go as high as $370,000.

In the AI marketplaces, organizations seek prompt engineers and offer attractive salaries to secure their expertise. Companies selling AI images or tools are particularly inclined to hire them for the ability to train prompts and generate desired outcomes. This trend is observable across various industries leveraging AI technology.

Prompt engineering is a sought-after career that can be pursued despite limited coding experience. While coding skills are beneficial, non-coders can still excel in this field. However, it is essential to know that the prompt engineering job market is competitive due to its accessibility. In the beginning, consider creating prompts for various large language models (LLMs) to enhance your opportunities. You also can apply for part-time project work on one of the prompt marketplaces.

If you deeply understand language models and machine learning, you can explore more technical roles beyond prompt engineering. Utilizing your expertise, you can engage in activities such as building, training, and developing AI models. Expanding your skill set will enable you to explore various career prospects.

How to Learn Prompt Engineering?

Becoming a skilled prompt engineer requires honing several vital abilities. It is crucial to prioritize the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, proficiency in data analysis and visualization, expertise in Python scripting and integration with NLP models. Mastering these skills establishes a strong foundation for crafting impactful prompts and harnessing the unlimited potential of natural language processing.

Whether you are working with ChatGPT, Midjourney, or any other AI tool, crafting descriptive prompts becomes essential, ensuring they consist of at least seven words. Including a subject and descriptor in your sentences gives the AI model the necessary context to comprehend your intended message and generate accurate outputs.

Numerous courses offer valuable resources to enhance your proficiency in writing prompts for AI tools. Practicing and experimenting is key to refining your skills and understanding impact.

One example of a course that can aid in mastering the art of writing high-quality prompts for AI tools is "GPT-101," offered on Udemy. This course delves into the workings of generative language models, explores prompt engineering strategies, and provides practical exercises to reinforce your learning. These resources can significantly accelerate your understanding and proficiency in leveraging AI tools effectively. There is a Midjourney course as well.

You can also choose one of the introductory Google courses:

What are Some Examples of Prompt Engineering Tasks?

Mastering prompt engineering is a challenging feat. While simple requests can be handled with basic queries, tackling complex tasks and routines requires a deep understanding and proficiency in providing detailed instructions.

You can find a few basic prompt structure examples at https://platform.openai.com/examples

An example of transformation and generation prompt

An example of transformation and generation prompt

Prompt Examples from Users of GPTChat

Prompt Examples from Users of GPTChat

Let's explore a few more examples:

Prompt specialists must meticulously design the dialogue framework to generate appropriate responses. Clear instructions and avoiding ambiguity are essential to delivering a seamless and valuable user experience.

The Benefits Of Hiring Prompt Engineers For Your Team

Hiring AI prompt engineers for your company can offer numerous advantages and help you leverage the power of artificial intelligence. Here are some key benefits you can expect:

Tyler BrydenTyler Bryden
Co-Founder at Speak AI

Interactions with large language models are generally charged by characters/tokens. When interacting with large data sets, ineffective prompts leading to repeated attempts can become cost prohibitive. 

Through our work, we have identified a template and structure to produce high-quality outputs:

1.Role
2.Data Set Context
3.Company/Organization Context
4.Industry Context
5.Project Objective Context
6.Your Objective With The Query/Prompt
7.Formatting

For example, a good prompt for one of our teams may be:

We are a qualitative research team doing a series of focus groups for our enterprise e-commerce client in X industry who wants to know what people think about their latest product offering Y. Please generate a SWOT analysis from the transcripts of these focus groups. Please provide verbatim quotes for each point in the SWOT analysis category in a manner that could be presented to our clients.

Suppose you want to harness the true power of AI. In that case, hiring a prompt engineering master is your secret weapon to unlock unprecedented possibilities and stay one step ahead in the AI revolution.

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